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Wednesday, 12 April, 2000, 23:29 GMT 00:29 UK
Excluded pupils 'at risk of delinquency'
group of anon teenagers walking past railings
Excluded children have more time to wander the streets
Excluding troublemakers from school increases the risk of them becoming delinquent, a report says.

School exclusion is often the result of delinquent behaviour, but it is also a cause of it.

Paul Cavadino
Instead, schools working in partnership with parents and other agencies can play a crucial role in reducing youth crime through identifying disaffected children and intervening early.

The report, published on Thursday by the National Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders (Nacro), brings together a range of research which suggests that pupils who play truant or who are excluded are much more likely to commit crime than those who attend school regularly.

It says that although many pupils who are banned from the classroom have already fallen foul of the law, excluding them can aggravate their offending and make it harder to address their behaviour.

A recent Mori poll for the Youth Justice Board indicated that 72% of children excluded from school had offended in the previous year, compared with 28% of those who attended school regularly.

police talking to truant youths
Children are more likely to commit offences if they do not attend school

Research has also suggested that excluded children commit up to 50% more offences in the year after exclusion, than in the year leading up to it.

Figures included in the report, called Learning the Lessons, show that the number of children excluded from school rose from 3,000 a year in 1990/91, to 12,300 in 1998/99.

The report also says that each year, at least one million children truant from school. It includes Home Office research findings, which suggest that truants are three times more likely to commit crimes than non-truants.

Government target

And it cites a six-month study by the Metropolitan Police, which estimates that 40% of all robberies, 25% of burglaries, and 20% of thefts in London are committed by children aged between 10 and 16, during school hours.

Paul Cavadino, Nacro's Director of Policy, said the report underlined the importance of achieving government targets for reducing exclusions, and giving excluded children full-time alternative education.

The government has set a target of reducing unauthorised absences and exclusions by one third by 2002 and ensuring that all pupils excluded from school for more than three weeks receive full-time education.

Grants worth 552m have also been made available to fund projects aimed at improving pupils' behaviour and attendance.

Nacro, which runs a series of projects working with children who have been excluded or are at risk of exclusion, said schools needed resources and support from other agencies to help keep children in full-time education.

Mr Cavadino said: "School exclusion is often the result of delinquent behaviour, but it is also a cause of it.

"Far too many excluded children get only a few hours home tuition, leaving much of the week for them to wander the streets and get into further trouble."

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See also:

26 Mar 00 | Education
Truancy link to youth crime
17 Mar 00 | Education
Anger over trip for truants
14 Feb 00 | Education
Expelled pupils losing out
19 Jan 00 | Education
Climbdown over school exclusions
14 Feb 00 | Education
Dealing with excluded pupils
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